TV and Broadband Providers
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TV & Broadband
Few people nowadays can claim to be able to go without broadband and TV. The internet, in particular, has become an essential part of almost everyone’s personal and working life, so getting a great deal on your broadband subscription is important. With this in mind, Selectra will compare broadband and TV deals for you from all providers large and small to help you find a deal that works for you.
When you begin to compare broadband and TV deals there are two important things to consider:
The fact is that if you’re paying more than £30 per month on standard fibre, you’re paying too much, and if your standard broadband isn’t keeping up with your streaming habits, you need to upgrade. To help you find the best deal for you, we’re going to run you through the best deals in a few easily sorted categories:
If you just want to get yourself a serviceable connection to browse or do some online shopping every now and again, what will be most important to you is getting it for a reasonable price.
The cheapest deals will not run quickly enough for you to do a lot of video streaming or use the internet on a lot of devices at a time, and this should be borne in mind. If this won’t be an issue, however, we would encourage you to consider this - the cheapest broadband deal on the market at the time of writing:
|Post Office Unlimited Broadband|
|£15.90 per month|
|11 Mbps avg. downloads|
|No upfront cost|
This is not only the lowest you’ll pay monthly for broadband in the UK, but also requires no setup or activation fee - which some other providers do charge - and a relatively short commitment. Many broadband contracts now require 18-month or 24-month commitments, but the Post Office will tie you down for just a year.
Even if your internet needs aren’t particularly demanding, however, it’s important you get a deal with a service you can rely on. There’s nothing worse than having problems getting connected on the few occasions you want to access the internet. Head over to our Post Office Broadband page to read reviews for its service and find out if it’s worth the saving.
This should be simple to answer, but the fact is that the fastest speed you can buy depends very much on where you live. We’re going to break down for you deals for the fastest speed available on the market and what is claimed to be the fastest widely-available speed, according the provider peddling it:
|Hyperoptic’s Hyperfast package||Virgin Media’s M350 package|
|900 Mbps avg. downloads*||362 Mbps avg. downloads|
|900 Mbps avg. uploads||36 Mbps avg. uploads|
|£45 per month||£43 per month|
|£29 activation fee||£35 activation fee|
|12-month contract||12-month contract|
|Line rental included||Line rental included|
*These speeds are not achievable on WiFi - you’ll have to plug in an ethernet cable to get them.
Unfortunately for those outside of London eyeing up Hyperoptic’s Hyperfast deal, it isn’t available to you for now. Only those in certain parts of the capital are able to sign up, and they can do so with or without line rental as they prefer (it’s cheaper without). Customers can also sign up either for a 12-month contract or for a rolling monthly deal (this will be more expensive).
Virgin Media’s deal is more widely available (though it still won’t be available to everyone) and are just as flexible - you can also do away with line rental and save yourself a bit or opt for a rolling monthly deal for a little extra. We would also add that, for an ordinary household with heavy internet usage just looking to stream and have several devices using the internet at once, whether you’re getting 362 Mbps or 900 Mbps shouldn’t make an enormous difference to you.
For full details on each of these deals, which are the fastest available to UK customers, see their providers’ respective pages.
The best fibre broadband deals are likely to be neither the fastest nor the cheapest ones - they are ones that are reliable, fast enough to meet your needs and cheap enough to be easily affordable. Below we’ve broken down some quick but affordable deals available at the time of writing:
|63 Mbps avg. downloads*||36 Mbps avg. downloads||50 Mbps avg. downloads|
|£21.95 per month||£17.99 per month||£19.95 per month|
|18-month contract||18-month contract||12-month contract|
|No upfront cost||No upfront cost||£29 activation fee|
The deal offered by Origin Broadband stands out here as exceptionally cheap for a fibre broadband deal - this is a special offer available at the time of writing. It is the slowest of the three packages, and will certainly serve for streaming and fast internet browsing, but not for many devices at one time. We would recommend it for small, relatively undemanding households looking for a fast connection.
For more demanding households, Vodafone’s Superfast 2 deal should allow you to browse and stream on several devices your hearts’ content. It should be noted that this deal is available exclusively to Vodafone Mobile customers, and that if you’re not signed up for mobile with them it will cost you £2 a month more.
The Hyperoptic deal, like its Hyperfast deal, is available only to Londoners. It represents good value, we’d say, despite being the only deal to charge an activation fee. For smaller households it will keep your internet ticking nicely, but larger ones may want to consider faster deals with more bandwidth so that everyone can use it at once with no arguments.
For full details on a particular package, head to their respective providers’ pages where you’ll find all the information you’ll need or give us a call for a chat about switching.
There are a huge variety of broadband and TV deals and which one you choose will be largely dependent on the individual needs of your household. When trying to choose among the plethora of deals on the market keep a few things in mind:
You might know that broadband is sold according to the speed (measured in Megabits per second (Mbps)) that it delivers its service, but with so much jargon attached to different broadband deals, it can be difficult to know which will be best for you. You just know you want broadband and you want it to work, not whether superfast or hyperfast fibre is best for you.
Broadly speaking, there are three main types of broadband - standard (ADSL) broadband, fibre optic broadband, and cable broadband. Within the maze that is fibre broadband, however, there are a few different speeds that providers peddle:
You may already be lost - that’s OK, we have plenty of guides to help you through the technical stuff. Our guide to broadband speed would be a good place to start in helping you work out what sort of download speed requires. Most providers offer both ADSL and fibre broadband, whereas only Virgin Media offers cable broadband deals.
Fibre-optic and cable broadband are two more modern technologies developed to replace ADSL broadband, which used to limit speeds to the 10-11 Mbps available with standard broadband. The difference between the two is the type of wire used to transfer data to your home and get you connected. For the full rundown on the difference between fibre and cable broadband, see our guide.
For some people (and particularly for businesses), download speed is not the only thing to consider in terms of getting a deal that will best suit them - if your usage requires sending a lot of data or performing a lot of video calls, for example, you’ll also need a deal with a reasonable average upload speed. To find out more about this, see our guide to download speed, upload speed and ping.
If you’re already subscribed to a broadband deal and you’re not sure you’re getting the speed you’re paying for, you might be interested in our broadband speed checker - this will calculate the speed your internet connection is operating at without the need to give away any personal information.
If you know the speed you’re getting and it’s not fast enough, you’ll next want to know what speeds are available to you in your area. Availability for superfast and ultrafast deals is limited to certain parts of the country, and the faster the speed, the more limited. To find out what speeds you can get, use our postcode checker:
Standard ADSL broadband is carried to your home the old-fashioned way using phone cables, so you will need to have a line installed in order to receive a connection in this way. You won’t, however, need to have a handset or be obliged to take out a calls package with your provider, and many providers offer line rental as standard with their broadband packages.
If you’re taking out a fibre-optic broadband deal, the likelihood is that your provider will install a line in the same way, but again you won’t be obliged to get a handset or pay for calls you don’t make. Certain providers offering Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) broadband, such as Hyperoptic and Giganet, and cable broadband, such as Virgin Media, do offer broadband-only deals with no need to have a phone line installed.
What is FTTP broadband?As opposed to Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) broadband, whose fibre-optic cables reach the green cabinet on your street and from there your connection is taken to your home via old-fashioned copper cables, FTTP providers lay fibre cables all the way to your home so that it doesn’t get slowed down at the last hurdle.
For more information on broadband without a phone line, see our guide.
This shouldn’t be a problem; the vast majority of broadband providers offer line rental as standard when you subscribe to their broadband packages with Pay As You Go calls included. If you want to add an inclusive calls pack to this and avoid per-minute rates, the standard packs tend to be:
*Check what exactly your provider terms as the beginning of the evening - for some it is 6 pm and for other 7 pm. **Sometimes includes mobile numbers, but is often limited to landlines. ***Sometimes includes mobile numbers, but is often limited to landlines.
The tendency is for standard plans to only include landline numbers, though this does differ from provider to provider - some will include mobile minutes in these plans, while others will have specific plans offering a certain number of minutes to mobile numbers to choose from.
The only place to find out about what's included in a provider's calls pack for sure is in the terms and conditions section of its calls plan.
Careful not to go over an hour, even on inclusive calls!Calls are only inclusive up to an hour - this is the case for all providers - so before you hit the hour mark be sure to hang up and, if you want to keep talking, redial.
A number of the major broadband providers offer TV services alongside their broadband deals, be it a traditional TV service or a streaming service. In some cases this can help you save money on your overall TV and broadband bill. Below is a list of providers that allow you to add TV to your broadband package:
Some of these names will be more familiar to you as TV providers than others. A few of them even offer bundles where you can get yourself a top-of-the-range TV included as an incentive. We would suggest shopping around and seeing what sort of promo deals each provider is offering to get the best deal. To find out which providers would be best for you, see our guide to the best TV packages.
It may be, of course, that you don’t need a traditional TV package. Many of us are watching an increasing amount of TV on-demand and, depending on your viewing habits, there may be no need for you to fork out for a huge channel pack if you can get a cheap broadband deal with a streaming subscription like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video alongside it.
More of a sports fan?If sports streaming is what you’re after, you can also add Sky Sports or BT Sport channels (as well as other sports streaming services) to many of the packages offered by the above-listed providers.
To find out the best way to go about switching provider, see our guide to switching. You’ll find out that switching could save you up to £300 on broadband alone, not to mention if you’re currently paying for things like line rental and TV subscriptions separately. You could ditch your different providers and get a deal bundling all these services together for significantly less.
Worried about the hassle of switching?Worry not! Many providers take on this hassle themselves and, if both providers use the Openreach network, you won’t even have to contact your old provider to let them know you’re leaving. Don’t be surprised, however, if they get in touch with you to try and tempt you to stay with a better deal!